[Fearless Females-Prompts for Women’s History Month–March 2: A favorite photo of a female ancestor]
This is a photo of my Great Grandmother, Margaret “Granny” (Jones) Jackson. It was taken about 1940 in Oakland, California.
I chose this photo because it’s one of my favorites. My Great Grandparents divorced around 1929-1930 when my Grandmother was 17. Her ex-husband disappeared leaving her to raise their two younger daughters. Not only that, but during the divorce he tried to burn the house down so no one could get it!
I have never seen a photo of Margaret smiling. But don’t let that full you. She was known to have quite a light spirit, dancing jigs on table tops when the mood (and the beer) struck her. The reason she never smiled in photos wasn’t because she was unhappy, but because she hated her dentures. She wore them to take the cable cars, ferry, and buses to get to her daughter’s house in Oakland and the moment she got in the door she took the darn dentures out.
Margaret was a survivor. She was divorce and living alone at a time when divorce was taboo. She helped her daughters raise their kids when they needed help. She loved to laugh and shared the hysterical laughter genes that seems to be hereditary for the females on my Mom’s side of the family (yes, her 3 daughters share it too!).
Margaret’s favorite bit of wisdom was this “You get better wrinkles from smiling than crying”. That’s how I’d like to remember her, despite the dour expression in her photos.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com